The Golden State Warriors headed into TD Garden Thursday night and beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 to win the 2022 NBA finals. Their Game 6 victory was a dominant performance in hostile territory highlighted by an early 21-0 run, effectively securing the Warriors their fourth championship in the last eight years.
The contest had looked very different early on. The Celtics began the game by going on a 14-2 tear, and they briefly looked like they would force a decisive Game 7 in San Francisco. But the Warriors countered with a run of their own, eventually ending the first quarter with a five-point lead. Things would escalate from there.
The Warriors held Boston scoreless for the first two minutes of the second quarter as Golden State rained three-pointers down on their hapless opponents. By the time the blitz was over, the Warriors had put together a 21-0 streak, the biggest such run in the finals in 50 years. The Celtics, meanwhile, were forced to hope they had one more dramatic comeback in them.
By halftime, the Celtics were down 15 points, a not impossible task given their track record of comebacks in these playoffs. The Warriors, however, refused to budge. A Stephen Curry three halfway through the third quarter gave them a 22-point lead that effectively ended the game and secured Curry the first finals MVP award of a career that will end with his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
To Boston’s credit, they refused to lie down, even cutting the Golden State lead to eight midway through the third quarter. However, they couldn’t get any closer: the Celtics had dug themselves too deep a hole, too early, against too formidable an opponent.
These finals were billed as a battle between youth and experience, and it’s safe to say that experience won out. The Warriors capitalized on Boston turnovers – the Celtics committed 22 in Game 6 alone – and mental mistakes throughout the series.
“It’s part of a championship pedigree, our experience. We built this for 10-11 years,” said Curry after the game. “That means a lot when you get to this stage.”
Even though Golden State fell behind 1-2 to start the series, they fought back to win three straight, two of them on the road, against a team that had not lost back-to-back games the entire postseason.
Curry, who scored 34 in the deciding game, was brilliant for most of the series, a slight blip in Game 5 aside. His finals MVP was no lifetime achievement award: the turning point of the series came with Curry’s 43-point performance in Game 4. These were his finals.
“Beginning of the season no one thought we would be here … it’s very surreal,” said Curry. It was easy to understand his joy: the Warriors finished with the worst record in the NBA just two seasons ago.
Part of the reason for that slump was injuries to Curry and his long-time teammate Klay Thompson. “It’s crazy. I’m on Cloud 109 right now,” said Thompson, who missed most of the last two-and-a-half years through injury before returning to help his team to victory. “ It was dog days, a lot of tears shed … You knew it was a possibility, but to see it in real-time … It’s crazy.”
The Warriors now have seven NBA titles, one more than the Chicago Bulls. Only the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (17 each) have more. This team is not the most accomplished Warriors roster to have won the title, but after a tough few years, they may be the happiest.